A young reader of Back to Godhead expresses his realizations.
by Christopher Stewart
What is the purpose of living? Why are we here, and what should we do with our lives? These questions often plague the minds of youth. In America, where materialism is especially widespread, alienation from purposeful living is quite frequent.
As a sixteen-year-old American, I know about purposelessness firsthand. I know that there is much despair and a terrible sense of worthlessness in my generation. These negative emotions cause people to plunge deeper into that which is the very source of their trouble—materialism.
The true nature of the soul is sac-cid-ananda: eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. Confusion and unhappiness are not normal conditions, but these feelings arise when we forget our constitutional position as servants of God.
Secular youth tend to think the universe revolves around them. They falsely believe, more or less, that they are God. Such foolishness is called maya, or illusion. Our true home is in the spiritual sky with the Lord and His eternal associates, not within this material world. Being trapped within mundane existence instead of enjoying that for which we are intended, we naturally become perplexed. And perplexity leads to further identification with transient, material things, such as drugs, sex, possessions, and escapism. You cannot escape by diving headlong into material existence.
So how do you escape? When Lord Krsna appeared in India five hundred years ago as Lord Caitanya, He stressed the chanting of the holy names of God. The highest form of these names is manifest in the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. By chanting these sixteen most holy words, we revive our latent memory of our true constitutional relationship to Krsna. By performing bhakti, or devotional service, we can purify our desires and prepare to go back to Godhead to be with Krsna in the spiritual sky. We are servants of the Lord, and even though He is seated in our hearts in His four-armed Visnu form of Paramatma, we always remain subservient to Him. Realizing this fact is the first step to realizing Krsna. When we have fully realized Krsna, we have fulfilled the purpose of our lives and need not ever take birth in the material universes again. Thus, by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, all sorrow is eradicated.
Realizing this, the purpose of human existence, has been the most momentous and uplifting experience in my life. Learning that I must seek Krsna and work for Him in devotion is surely my most important discovery.
I was immersed in a sea of ignorance, but Krsna extended mercy to me and permitted me to come into contact with His pure devotees and their noble way of life. I am now planning how to best serve Krsna with my life. I pray that with His mercy I will do His wishes and that I will attain Him. I know that others are as confused as I was, and I pray that they too will come to this glorious knowledge of God and escape the bewilderment that maintains their souls in maya.